My name is Derek Murphy; I've designed over a thousand covers and spoken at dozens of writing and publishing conferences on cover design. I have a whole bunch of testimonials and stuff but I'm testing some things out so I brought you straight to this page. Things are a bit messy but I'll get everything sorted out soon.
I recommend you start with the free video series on designing covers that sell. I'll give you the tools and templates down below, but unless you understand the true purpose of a book cover and the common mistakes all authors make, you're going to end up with a cover that won't sell your book. And you want to sell books, right?
I started this site to teach people how to make covers in Microsoft Word (I know it sounds crazy, but you can make amazing covers very quickly in Word with some of the built in features.) There's some videos on how to do that here and some templates down below so you can try it out. Once you open the Word files, things may not look right if you don't have the same fonts installed that I used, so try changing the fonts.
I wasn't happy with the Word templates so I custom built my own online cover design tool. You can try out the online tool here, and there's a package of templates for the tool down below too (I'm not a developer so the tool is a bit buggy, I'd like to fix it soonish but since I don't charge for it it's hard to keep investing in it).
You'll be getting an email confirmation from me, make sure you hit the 'subscribe' button in it so I can let you know when new samples and other resources are available. Since you're interested in publishing, I'm also going to send some tips on book design, publishing and marketing that will help you defeat the competition.
I have big plans for this site. Now that I've finally finished my PhD in Literature, I plan to build more templates with more free programs, to make it even easier for you to design your own book covers, so you might want to check back in every month to see what I've added.
PS) I don't have time to support everyone who downloads my free templates, but if you want to join my Facebook Group and introduce yourself, you can get some quick feedback on your covers.
MS WORD TEMPLATES
Sample Templates and Guide
Here's a link to the sample package; you can use the Quickstart Guide or "Cheat Sheet" to troubleshoot and learn the ropes. There are a few fiction and non-fiction cover template samples to play with. The instructions are based on Word 2010.
An Epic List of Appropriate Fonts per Genre
Choosing the right fonts for your book cover is important; you'll probably use the same fonts for your interior formatting as well. Here's a huge list of fonts I like divided by genre.
I made a few "sell-sheets" that may help with book marketing; for a long post about how to use them, and other alternatives, you can read this article I posted on my blog: How-to-make-a-sell-sheet-for-your-book-with-free-templates
Full Print Covers (Createspace, etc.)
Making full print covers for Createspace is a little tricky, but this guide and sample templates will help. You can make a full print cover that looks pretty good, but you need to get familiar with the features in MS Word, and use quality fonts and images.
Business cards, posters, ads...
This package is light on layers, heavy on templates - it's got everything you need but assumes you're starting from a finished cover file, so you're just importing layers. There are also instructions for ordering postcards and business cards (and how to use them).
ONLINE COVER DESIGN TOOL TEMPLATES
You can try out the online tool here.
Here's a package of some covers and other things; go to "file" and "open" to load these into the cover tool. I also added a bunch of videos on using the cover tool, here.
If you're also planning on doing your own book formatting, check out www.diybookformats.com. There are some training videos and a whole bunch of free formatting templates in InDesign and Word (plus some super special formatting templates for each genre, including recommended fonts and style).
I've written three books about publishing, book design and building your author platform; along with a book of answers to common publishing questions. You can download them all for free - just click one of the buttons below to share DIY Book Covers, and then you'll see the download links. I'm working on new, exciting projects, but will keep adding resources to DIY covers. I'll email you when there's new stuff you can use.
Thanks and good luck!